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Egypt planning to launch war against Israel, warns retired IDF officer

March 26, 2024 at 9:11 am

Egyptian army infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) are deployed near the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip on March 23, 2024. [Photo by KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images]

A retired senior officer in the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) has warned of a military build-up of the Egyptian army in Sinai since 2004, and especially since 2008. Lieutenant Colonel Eli Dekel, who specialises in infrastructure systems in Arab countries, published a report about this on the Nziv news website.

Dekel began researching his report — “The concept of peace with Egypt that has not been addressed” — and investigating this matter six years ago, and he reached a dangerous conclusion. Since 2014, he said, the Egyptian army has been expanding its military infrastructure in Sinai significantly, Russia Today has reported.

“In 2014, after the days of regional unrest and the [2013] removal of the Muslim Brotherhood from power in Egypt, the construction of military infrastructure in Sinai was accelerated, and at the same time a pointless process began to purchase advanced weapons,” wrote Dekel. “This process led to the Egyptian army ranking as the 12th most powerful army in the world and pushed Israel to 18th place globally.”

He added that: “The troubling phenomena of the Egyptian army’s significant build-up of its forces and the intensive construction of military infrastructure, especially in Sinai and on both fronts of the [Suez] Canal, do not worry the public in Israel, including the senior military veterans I spoke with in academic research institutes, commentators and journalists, including military affairs journalists who are fed by the Israeli security system with the concept that, after Egypt received the last inch of the land of Sinai from Israel, it has no interest in harming Israel. However, the opposite is true, hostile relations (known as cold peace) are growing and Egypt is maintaining security cooperation with Israel, which is now prohibited from being publicised.”

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The retired Israeli officer criticised the political and security leadership in Israel for treating Egypt as a friendly country and not an enemy. He stressed that it poses a security threat to Israel, and that Israel needs to direct military resources to protect itself against this threat.

Dekel also warned against a repeat of the 1973 October War and the failure of Israeli intelligence to anticipate the sudden Egyptian attack on Israel. He explained that when intellectuals and those interested in Egyptian affairs in Israel ask about the danger posed by the Egyptian army strengthening its military power, they use the following excuses:

  • Egypt is strengthening itself due to Ethiopia’s threat to steal River Nile water from Egypt.
  • Egypt is strengthening itself due to the threat of the Tripoli-based faction in Libya (the faction in Benghazi controlled by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, who is an ally of Egypt).
  • Egypt aspires to lead Africa and the Arab nation, and the weapons aim to show all the countries of the world Egypt’s size and status.

According to Dekel, through his report, he has refuted all of the aforementioned claims, stressing that Egypt poses a security threat to Israel and is preparing constantly for some kind of future war against the occupation state.

“Even if my evaluations of Egypt’s war intentions are fundamentally wrong,” he concluded, “and Egypt’s President Al-Sisi was only thinking well of Israel, even then it seems to me that the Israeli army’s lack of preparation for a potential military confrontation with Egypt amounts to criminal negligence.”

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